I've turned into that grumpy old man in the neighborhood, yelling at speeding motorists endangering lives, drivers who turn in front of me while I stroll through a crosswalk and people who think racing to a red light to just sit and wait is more important than the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
So Sunday when I was on my morning saunter along South Pavilion Center Drive in Summerlin, I thanked a Las Vegas Metro officer for pulling over a driver in front of the new Howard Hughes Corporation baseball park being built along the road and a roundabout. The ballyard opens in early April.
I wrote a recent story about pedestrian and bicyclist safety at the new $150 million minor league ballpark because I witnessed motorists who were speeding, inattentive and impatient along South Pavilion Center -- driving behavior that in my humble opinion will imperil the lives of people crossing the street to reach the ballpark and using the Pavilion Center Drive corridor.
You'll have to excuse if I am just a little agitated over motorist driving behavior. When an inattentive motorist slams his car into you from behind while you're bicycling and you survive thanks to the grace of God, you tend to get a little ticked off when you see people driving motorized vehicles in manners that could kill or maim someone. And yes, I have written a book about this.
Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the ballpark and the newly re-branded Las Vegas Aviators Triple A team, said it will install pedestrian flashers so walkers can cross South Pavilion Center Drive. That's fine. But educating motorists to slow down and not speed through the roundabouts along South Pavilion Center Drive at the new ballpark would help too.
And then there's Metro traffic police on motorcycles who can stop motorists, too, to conduct their own form of behavior modification
After the distracted motorist slammed his car into me in Florida, I returned to Las Vegas in June 2017 to launch LVSportsBiz.com. But I kept my Bicycle Stories blog alive because in a previous life I quit journalism and was a full-time community bicycle rights and safety activist in the Tampa Bay market. I see Las Vegas could use a little help, too, to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from deadly motorists, so I'll be lending my voice to this issue.
Late Sunday afternoon, I walked onto the Channel 3 set to chat with sports anchor Bryan Salmond and I couldn't believe the giant photos in the slide show that were as big as the room's back wall.
I gasped to myself when I saw my battered face that occupied a major section of the set's wall as part of the slide show.
I've come a long way since March 7, 2017 when a distracted motorist slammed into me, nearly killing me near Fort Pierce on Florida's east coast about 2 1/2 hours north of Miami. The size of photo caught me off guard.
It's been three weeks since the finished book I wrote on my comeback, return to Las Vegas and launch of LVSportsBiz.com arrived at my Las Vegas home and promoting and selling, Long Road Back to Las Vegas: How Las Vegas and the Golden Knights healed a journalist's wounds.
It's been great talking one-on-one with people at book signings. The next book signing is set for Saturday Dec. 22 at the Giant Las Vegas bike shop in Summerlin at 2283 Rampart Blvd. Here's a flier for the book signing, which will follow the Giant Las Vegas Santa Hat Bike Ride.
Support people who write books by buying their books.
Long Road Back is $12 if you buy the book in person at a book signing and $16 if you would like me to ship you a copy. Email me at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com to arrange buying a book.
inform people that a motorist rammed his car into me from behind on a quiet
two-lane road in Florida, nearly claiming my life in March 2017, they ask, “What
was the driver charged with by police?”
there must be some type of negligent driving citation – especially when the
motorist admitted to the deputy officer shortly after 8 a.m. March 7 that he
didn’t see me in the roadway because he diverted his attention from the road to
seeking his breathing inhaler in Chevy Cruze.
But the St.
Lucie County Sheriff’s Office never issued a ticket to driver Dennis Brophy for
slamming his car into me as I bicycled on a road in a small town called St.
Lucie Village near Fort Pierce on Florida’s East Coast.
and bitterness of a police agency not citing a motorist for hitting me with his
car, causing two broken vertebra, a bad concussion (a helmet saved me) and a
battered right leg helped fueled my motivation to write a book about the
recovery and my return to Las Vegas to start a business-news website covering
Las Vegas’ expanding sports industry.
I was back
in Florida for my nephew’s wedding this past weekend. And I took the
opportunity to also weave in book signings in Tampa and Vero Beach and make a
pit stop off I-95 that I did not plan.
It was a
spur-of-the-moment decision in my way to the airport in Orlando to drop in on
the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office administration building on Midway Road,
about 10 minutes east of the interstate.
I thought I
would give a book to the sheriff with an inscription that asked for an apology
for never giving a ticket to a motorist who nearly killed me.
I went to
the information desk and I asked to talk with the deputy sitting behind the
protective, transparent barrier.
Deputy Alex Feola
left his chair and came around the information booth to chat with me in the
sheriff’s office lobby.
polite and professional. He looked like a fit 50-something and was disarming in
his talking style. He was also empathetic. He shared that he understood the
pain of knowing what it’s like to be hit by a car and not receive justice.
said his niece was killed by a drunk driver in Martin County with the driver
avoiding jail time with an insanity defense that he said he was bought by the
judge. He noted the killer of his brother’s daughter ended up in a home in Port
St. Lucie, the biggest city in St. Lucie County, which is about two hours north
Feola, as it
turned out, was also a former New Yorker. He was from the Bronx before moving
to St. Lucie County some 35 years ago, while I was born in Brooklyn and moved
to Florida to work for the Palm Beach Post to report on the city of Port St.
Lucie in 1994.
to the deputy that I don’t harbor a grudge or any sense of vengeance, but I
would like Sheriff Ken Mascara to read my book and get back to me about why a
distracted driver who smashed into me while I bicycled March 7, 2017 did not
even receive a ticket for failing to pass a bicyclist by a minimum distance of
three feet – which is law in Florida.
Feola had a
calming presence about him and we chatted for about 15 minutes or so. It was a
good conversation and I gave him my LVSportsBiz.com business card, which he
tucked inside the book. I wrote my number on the business card and Feola said
the sheriff may call.
He said I
survived the crash to continue my work, while I offered my condolences for
losing a niece who had her whole life in front of her at 23 years old.
It was a
respectful conversation. But I wonder if I’ll ever hear from the sheriff.
It was sad to see Interbike say adios to Las Vegas last week. There was a subdued vibe to the entire week, a quiet acknowledgement for the fate of the national bicycle trade show heading to Reno in 2018.
But Bicycle Stories enjoyed re-connecting with old bikey friends and seeing products. Las year Bicycle Stories inaugurated its Top 5 list of products that caught my eye and here is that list.
1. Athlos Sports custom bike gear. Dave Manchester took my friend Malanda Schmitz's artwork of my dog Pugsy and made it into a wonderful LVSportsBiz.com bike jersey. Check out Athos at its website.
2. After a car crashed into me from behind in March, I have made it a priority to use a mirror when bicycling. I first used a mirror that I mounted on my sunglasses. Now I use a much bigger mirror that offers me a good look at what is behind me thank to a sample mirror given to me by Brett Flemming of Efficient Velo Tools of Portland, OR. I mounted Brett's mirror on my bike helmet with only two ties and it's part of my daily bike ride. Check Efficient Velo at its website here. There's Brett.
And there's the mirror attached to the helmet.
3. There are some good bike socks out there. My favorite socks come from Darn Tough of Vermont. Check out their socks at their website here. They make socks for all sports.
4. I snacked on protein bars made by RxBar. They're from Chicago and it's probably the healthiest food in that city. I met the RxBar reps at last Monday's Outdoor Demo and saw them again at the trade show. Check out the RxBars at their website here.
5. My final product of Las Vegas is the Scooterboard, an electric three-wheeled skateboard with a single-handed handle that looks like it would be a nice device to get around densely-populated areas to get to class, home, work or the store. It's a 22-pounder with top speed of 15.5 mph and has a range of 7.5 miles on a single charge. The charge takes about 2.5 hours. Its owner is Rose Wang, a go-getter with a can-do attitude. She impressed me with her tenacity and kickstarter skills. The kickstarter is live through Sept. 28. Good luck Rose. Check her product out at its website.
See you in Reno.
Good-bye Interbike Las Vegas. Last scene as I left Friday at 2 p.m.